Norwich City-Southampton Preview
LONDON (SE) - Southampton will be looking to continue a run of good results when they welcome Norwich City to St Mary's on Wednesday evening.
The Saints have taken seven points from their last three league matches to shoot up the table. Captain Adam Lallana scored in the 2-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday, and believes that his team have finally got to grips with the Premier League.
"We had a tough start and we feel we should have probably been a little higher up the league," said Lallana. "We've led in a lot of games this year but just not seen it out. We are adjusting to the standard and it is showing by the results we're getting. We will just keep working hard and learning still. It is the first season for a lot of us in the top flight but we'll come to terms with it.
"We've got Norwich on Wednesday night here so to back it up with another three points will take us further away from the drop."
Visitors Norwich are also in a rich vein of form, having avoided defeat in their last seven - including famous wins over Manchester United and Arsenal - and manager Chris Hughton is glad that his players now have the confidence to be competitive in the top-flight.
"I think there has to be confidence," said Hughton. "Any team that is winning games and picking up points - if you can't gain confidence from that then you never will.
"We have got a hard-working team and have got a lot of quality in the team. We know we have to work and put in a real shift to be able to get our points at this level. That is what we have been doing."
Wednesday's match on the south coast will also signal a return for referee Mark Clattenburg after the official was cleared of directing racially abusive comments at Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel at Stamford Bridge in October, and Hughton is pleased to see him back.
"I for one am pleased he is back after all that happened. He will be very well received," said the Norwich boss. "I think everyone will be delighted to see him back but there's no pressure. Referees are the same as players and managers, we're all under pressure in these games and he's an experienced referee."
Southampton have doubts over Richard Chaplow (knock) and Frazer Richardson (thigh). Following the 2-0 win over Newcastle, Adkins will have to decide whether to stick with a winning side for the second of three games in a week, or whether to bring back the likes of Steven Davis and Jay Rodriguez.
Norwich have doubts over John Ruddy after he was taken off in the win over Newcastle, and Mark Bunn is on hand to replace the England squad goalkeeper on Wednesday. Michael Turner is a concern with a shoulder injury, while Harry Kane is out with a broken foot.
These teams last met three seasons ago in League One, with Southampton taking four points off the Canaries. The last top-flight game between the two was back in April 2005, when Henri Camara scored the winner in a stunning 4-3 victory for the Saints. However, both clubs went on to be relegated, finishing in the bottom two places in the table.